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Covering garden with tarmac or concrete is the worst gardening mistake you can make, says Peter Dowdall

June is one of the best months in the garden, or the worst depending on how much time you like to invest in your outdoor space.

RSVP caught up with expert gardener Peter Dowdall, aka The Irish Gardener, for a chat about the highs and lows of gardening this month.

Best of Times

1. Best thing about gardening in June

The best thing about gardening in June is the weather. The garden is going at full tilt this month. Gardeners are always working a season ahead and June is the month you get to sit back and actually enjoy the fruits of the year’s labour.

2. Best feature in your garden

I only moved into my home less than a year ago and I haven’t actually redone the garden yet, it is a mature garden but it needs work. I’m living with it for the first 12 months to see what’s what. I definitely think the best feature in my garden are the trees, one is a weeping crabapple tree, and the other is weeping pear and they’re both stunners.

3. Best part of your day

Morning. I love first thing in the morning at about 7am, I’m one of those weirdos. I just like getting up early and tearing into the day. I get up at about six o’clock and then watch my Sky News and have a coffee. It’s my alone time before the world goes mad.

4. Best moment of your career

I don’t know if I’ve had it yet. I think the best is yet to come. I get a kick out of every time I leave a client’s garden, but I like to think I haven’t had the ‘best moment’ of my career yet.

5. Best piece of gardening advice

The best piece of gardening advice I can give to anyone is; don’t be scared. Just give it a go. So many people ask me; ‘Where do I start?’. My answer is always to just start. It’s nothing to be scared of, it’s not rocket science. Trust your gut.

Worst of Times

1. The worst gardening product

People tend to overuse insecticides, chemicals and weed killers in the garden. There were no garden chemicals before World War Two and they had perfecting gardens. People knew how to work with nature instead of against it and they gardened with their hands instead of relying on chemicals. Very good marketing and lack of awareness has led us into thinking Dandelions are weeds and look desperate in a lawn, but they’re not, when you stop and look at them they’re actually quite attractive.

2. The worst thing anyone could do in their garden

I think the worst thing anyone could do in their garden is to concrete over the whole thing, or tarmac the whole area. Oh, use fake plastic grass. Covering the garden with something artificial is definitely up there with one of the worst things you can do.

3. The worst plant to grow

There’s not one specific plant that I would advise against but I would warn people to beware of anything that’s invasive. What you definitely don’t want to do is introduce an invasive species into your garden that will take over everything. They will take over the whole garden so you need to do a bit of homework before purchasing and give some thought to what you’re planting and where.

4. The worst thing about gardening in June

I suppose how much work needs to be done. In June the garden is really running at full tilt. The weeds are growing in front of your eyes and you can’t put the work off until tomorrow. Plants need to be cut back, flowers deadheaded.

5. The worst thing about being a gardener

The weather in the winter time. Everybody thinks we have the best job in the world and for four months of the year, we do. But during January, let me tell you, it’s not fun.

Find our more www.theirishgardener.com

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